Make your own free website on Tripod.com

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD F.A.Q.

Where can I get a script?
From John Russo, although despite merchandising everything but NOTLD farmhouse toilet paper, he has not released the old mimeographed script. If you procure the Millenium DVD from Elite, you should have it in digital form. 

What is the significance of the drive into the cemetery?
No real symbolism or anything there. It serves to get the main titles out and establish the rural location of the cemetery.

What influences or styles did Romero emulate on NOTLD?
No one consciously, but Romero does acknowledge that any film is parasitic of another. Among his heroes, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, whose The Thing From Another World (1951) had a lasting impression on him. "I was the right age at the right time!" He was 11.

What cemetery was it filmed at?
Evans City Cemetery, even though it was intended to be the Willard Cemetery story-wise. For more info read the Production Notes.

Why is the title for Night written like
"night" and the rest of the title generic?
Again, no reason other than that is what the Animators (titlers) thought looked best.

What caused the dead to reactivate?
Romero didn’t want to explain this at risk of insulting the audience’s intelligence. He was dismayed that people latched on to one of the explanations presented by the scientific community ("exploding satellite carrying radiation fallout from Venus"). The presskit also perpetuated the assumption. In actuality, several other theories were discussed in the original (and unavailable) work print of the film: Judgment Day, voodoo mysticism, and the most accepted, a germ or virus. In the remake, they made sure to include the scenes where these theories are postulated.

What is the significance of Johnny’s gloves?
The gloves don’t signify anything but the gloves were incorporated so that the audience could recognize Johnny when he returned later from the grave.

Why do all the zombies hang around the one farmhouse?
Supposedly a combination of being attracted by the noise of boarding up doors and gunshots, and their social instinct of following other ghouls.

Why is there a naked lady walking around for?
If you look closely or catch a still, you will see a morgue tag on her ("Smyth, Carol"). In the remake, they hired another nude and had a few more obvious morgue or autopsy males.

How could the morgue lady wind up in rural Pennsylvania?
The filmmakers can’t explain this one. This applies to most of the living dead that seemingly congregated at the one farmhouse.

How did so many zombies end up in the countryside?
This has no logical explanation, like the one above.

Why do the zombies look plain/normal?
They're the unburied, recently dead. They have not crawled out of the ground or anything. Romero also wanted them to look like everyday people to make people think they're normal. He says "They’re your neighbors. Sometimes the neighbors are the most frightening people you'll ever face." 

How about that part in the cellar where the scene stops and Harry's head has moved around? Is there missing dialogue?
This was to cut the running time down from 100 minutes. John Russo accepts responsibility for this: "I made the jump cut when I was getting the negative ready to go to the lab. I attempted to match Karl's head position the best I could."

Where is George Romero in the movie?
He plays the tall reporter in Washington asking if there is a connection between the mutations.


Where is John Russo in the movie?
Russo first appears as a ghoul that Ben kills with a tire iron in the house (the one that blinks). Then as the general's driver in Washington.

Where's Marilyn Eastman as a zombie?
She is the one that eats an insect off a tree.

Hey there's a window they forgot to board up! Mistake!
Yes there is an unboarded window for good reason. Russo explains, "we didn't board up that window because outside there was a 15 ft. drop. No zombies could have accessed it."

Who attacked the lady upstairs?
It could have been any of the zombies that later turn up near the house or the character referenced in the novelization Russo wrote (which is not clearly identified in the movie because they hadn’t thought about it that deeply).

Who was the lady upstairs?
The lady is referred to as Miss Miller in the novel but the script refers to her as the former owner of the house.

Why did the lady upstairs not revive as a zombie?
Russo and Romero have both reasoned that she had her head suffer severe trauma and her brain might have been eaten along with her face.

So why did Johnny revive as a zombie if he suffered brain death?
Russo and Romero have reasoned that Johnny was knocked out and probably later attacked again doing him in for real. In the remake, Johnny did not revive because the brain injury was severe.

Why did Romero make the hero black? Was this to make a controversial statement for the 60s?
This is fully described in the Production section. In a nutshell, he wasn't scripted as a black character, he was envisioned as a white hillbilly. Duane Jones was cast because of his talented reading of the lines.

Why do the zombies break the headlights?
Don't all monsters loathe light? Truthfully this was unnecessary, as Romero realized by leaving it out of the remake.

Why did the zombie hit by tire iron blink his eye when Barbara stared at him?
John Russo played this zombie and claims that "it was an intentional blink...a death twitch might have sold the idea that he was still alive." I know, I know, sounds dumb, but remember that the body seems to move again a moment later, when it is dragged out of frame.

Why did the zombie hit in the face by a tire iron hold his face as if in pain if he is already dead and unfeeling?
AND 
Why did one zombie (near the end) cover his eyes when shot from behind?

You can say instinct but most realize that when they were shooting, they didn't really have all the rules of zombie behavior outlined and down to a science. These may be considered mistakes and are included in the Mistakes section.

Is there a color version of NOTLD? - I see color shots in your site.
NOTLD was not shot in color, those are from a color film camera. NOTLD was colorized however by Hal Roach Studios in 1986 in the first of the Russo-authorized desecrations to make some money off of it. NOTLD was also remade in color.

Why did they film in just black and white?
Color 35mm was too expensive for the filmmakers at the time. But this enabled a nostalgic look and hid its inadequacies well.

Were there any disasters on the set?
Yes, one of them is when [sound man] Gary Streiner was in charge of relighting the chair fire when it had to be filmed. He caught fire one night when his arm was accidentally doused with lighter fluid. Bill Hinzman had to tackle him to roll him on the ground.

Are there any alternate versions of NOTLD - different endings, different angles, etc?
No. The alternate 'cutting room floor' stuff was damaged in a Pennsylvania flood in 1972. Also lost forever were hundreds of stills in the Latent Image offices. For what was missing - see Distribution. There ARE versions of NOTLD of varying quality since they were transferred from different source prints. The best are the versions with Walter Reade leader. Romero taped a intro that was tacked on to the film for release by Laurel in 1982. Both of these have made it to video and cable, and one release  has both before the movie. There aren't really any alternate versions of the original Night save for a television edit where Barbara, entering the farmhouse door, is cut.

Beware of the 30th Anniversary 'Special Edition' (info here). This version does not have lost footage restored but rather "new" footage and a lame substory.

Is NOTLD MPAA rated? - it doesn't have a swear word or sex but brief nudity/violence/gore.
It was released without a rating and was never submitted for one (the distributor Continental Pictures didn't yet subscribe to the system which started a month after the film premiered ). See Distribution section for details.

What television channels have shown NOTLD?
NOTLD has been shown far too many times to keep count. During the 70s, it appeared late night on various channels. Interestingly in Pittsburgh area airings, Romero remembers the rescue stations blacked out and/or a disclaimer announcing that it wasn't real and to not report to the rescue stations flashing on screen. In the 80s, HBO showed it a bit in 1984 and MTV broadcast it on Halloween. The USA Network used to air NOTLD every New Years Eve at around 11 P.M. (with Animal Crackers and The Inspector General following). In 1988, they aired NOTLD and Day of the Dead back to back with guest host Gilbert Gottfried. The Special Edition was aired on Cinemax February 4, 2002.

What did the TV Guide say about NOTLD?
NOTLD has been on so many times they don't say much of anything; it's hardly an event. For the record the reviews are good:

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
NR: GV. Shocker about a plague
of zombies loose in Pennsylvania.
Barbara: Judith O'Dea. Johnny:
Russell Streiner. (1 hr. 40 min.
H H H)

The TV Book, included with most national newspapers, have a better synopsis, although as time went on, and space diminished, the capsule got vaguer.

Night of the Living Dead H H H (68, 
BW, Horror) Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea.
People flee from carnivorous walking
corpses brought back to life by a space
probe. Directed by George Romero.
NR. Violence. (1:36)

Night of the Living Dead H H H (68, 
BW, Horror) Duane Jones. People hide in a
house from carnivorous walking corpses
revived by radiation fallout. Directed by
George Romero. NR. Violence. (1:36)

Night of the Living Dead H H H (68, 
BW, Horror) Duane Jones. People hide 
from walking corpses. NR. (1:36)

Were the images of NOTLD allegorical to Vietnam (dead bodies in fields) or symbolic of 60s racial tension?
Way too many critics have tried to pin messages and metaphors to this movie over the years and it's always surprising for Romero and company as indicated by his quote from the preface to Russo's Complete NOTLD Filmbook: "I personally believe that that some critics have a tendency to read a bit much into the creations they are studying, in their zeal to find messages and hidden meanings." 

Why didn't Tom Savini do the makeup?
Tom was going to but was drafted into the Vietnam War. See Pre-Production.

What awards has NOTLD won?
No awards other than various horror hall of fame honors and polls, and permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (!)

Hey that is the same music in that scene in Ren and Stimpy...or Amazon Women On the Moon or...
The music used in NOTLD is patchworked needledrop library tracks, and you can hear portions in films even before 1968 like The Hideous Sun Demon,
Space Master X-7, Teenagers From Outer Space, Terror From the Year 5000 and many others.

Is the farmhouse still somewhere I can visit?
No, it was burned down after the movie was made by the owners. I know, thousands of dollars potentially lost as a tourist attraction…however, you can find the remake’s farmhouse.

What NOTLD-related conventions have there been?
The most famous is the Night of the Living Dead 25th Anniversary Zombie Jamboree held August 27-29, 1993 at the Monroeville ExpoMart with appearances by Judy O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Bill Hinzman, John Russo, Russ Streiner and George Romero himself. Bill Cardille also appeared for a separate Q and A session. The con itself was great, but the ExpoMart since barred Russo and his organization for unpaid fees.

Besides its initial theatrical run, has NOTLD played in theaters in the 80s or 90s?
Yes. Many theater owners have acquired NOTLD prints for Halloween marathons. On August 28th, 1993, at the Cinema World Theater in Pittsburgh, it was shown to the Zombie Jamboree patrons, in a recreation of the 1968 premiere. George and everyone showed up in a limo.

This is a color still of Hinzman in makeup in  NOTLD.

Why does Bill Hinzman have his name misspelled Heinzman in the credits?
To make sure people pronounce it right.

What movies reference NOTLD?
A few scenes play out on a television in a house in Halloween II (1981) and Stir of Echoes (1999). There's a tribute scene in  Waxwork (1988). In the animated Quackbusters (1988), there's a segment called Night of the Living Duck. There's a part in Tim Burton's
Beetlejuice (1988) where the movie is mentioned.

What music acts have referenced NOTLD?
The title itself has been applied to songs by death metallers Entombed and punk band Misfits. Cds of the same name have been released by the Dead Boys (1995) and Jackyl (1996). The rap act Public Enemy had a song called Night of the Living Baseheads (1988). The rock group Seven Year Bitch thought it'd be fun to use Karen Cooper's face for a logo and drumhead art during the late 80s-early 90s. 

What TV shows have referenced NOTLD?
Saturday Night Live’s sketch "Night of the Moonies" was one of the most well-known references; MTV’s Liquid Television had a segment called Stick Figure Theater which re-enacted NOTLD in 1994.

What parodies have there been of NOTLD?
The most famous is Night of the Living Bread, a short by Kevin S. O'Brien. You can see this on the old Anchor Bay VHS double set or the Elite Laserdisc or DVD. Nickelodeon used to have a program called Mad Movies, where classic movies were redubbed and they did NOTLD for one episode in 1986. Michael Medved also shows up to talk about the significance of the movie.

The ultimate parody is no doubt Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil Mutant Hellbound Flesheating Subhumanoid Living Dead Part 2 in Shocking 2D released in 1992 on Jivass Video. All this was is the movie dubbed over by one man doing all kinds of voices. Parts are quite funny.

What other cultural references have there been for NOTLD?
Too many to keep track of honestly. In Halloween 1989, Budweiser released a black and white commercial that paid homage to the beginning. The 1992 Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors! featured a familiar image from NOTLD of zombies.

Is Return of the Living Dead supposed to be the sequel?
John Russo wrote a sequel to his NOTLD Novel in 1978. That was his sequel which was still limited to Pennsylvania countrysides not about the whole world being taken over by the zombies (something George's movie sequels were about). 

Why did John Russo make the movie Return of the Living Dead?
John Russo made the novel which was in turn purchased by another producer and turned into a much better movie that was completely different. Russo had NOTHING to do with the shooting of the film. The original novel is discussed in detail here. Russo also took it upon himself to novelize the film - changing events and names left and right to drag it out to novel proportion. Find out what he changed here. 

Why did John Russo make Children of the Living Dead?
He didn't write it, he didn't direct either. He was in on it though. But don't blame him entirely!

Why did Bill Hinzman make Revenge of the Living Dead (Flesheater)?
Notice any kind of pattern here? 

Why is Russ Streiner not credited as Johnny?
Why isn't George Romero or John Russo for that matter? They didn't want to be.

What did George think of the 30th Anniversary Edition or of Children of the Living Dead?
He is on our side. He has been quoted as saying "he is still friends with Jack Russo" but both on and off the record "doesn't like what they did".

What do you think of the 1990 remake?
It improved on the realism, the makeup was worth a look, but was it as good as the original? No way. Check out my site on it.

How much money has NOTLD made worldwide?
It is estimated that it has made $70 million to date but these dollars have not gone to the people who were initially behind it.

A shot of Duane Jones from 1985, taken by Stephen D'Emidio.


What has the cast done besides NOTLD/who has since died?
Duane Jones went on to star in several more low-budget, obscure films: Ganja and Hess (1972), Tarot (1975), Losing Ground (1982), Beat Street (1984), Abandon (86), Fright House (1988), Negatives (1988); he died July 22, 1988 of heart failure and To Die For (1989) ironically was dedicated to his memory. Jones stated in his last interview that he had not seen any other Romero (or any other Living Dead) movies. Russel Streiner went on to produce sex romp The Booby Hatch in 1975 with John Russo, and the remake of Night of the Living Dead. He married co-star Judith Ridley who appeared as Judith Streiner in Romero’s farce There’s Always Vanilla (1971) alongside of George Kosana. Karl Hardman appeared with Marilyn Eastman in Santa Claws (1996). Eastman (who also was in Houseguest in 1995) co-starred in Fade To Black (1980) with Kyra Schon. Santa Claws which was directed by S. William Hinzman, who also directed Flesheater (aka Revenge of the Living Zombie) released to video in 1988. Hinzman worked as a cinematographer on Romero’s early films from There’s Always Vanilla, Jack’s Wife (1972) and The Crazies which also starred A.C. McDonald. Hinzman also photographed Russo’s The Majorettes (1986), Backstreet Justice (1992), Stephen King’s The Langoliers (1995, made for TV) as well as Legion of the Night and Evil Ambitions (both 1996). His most recent effort was the 1998 Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary travesty and its sequel Children of the Living Dead (2001). Vince Survinski served as production manager on a few of Romero’s films, appearing in Martin and Day of the Dead before his death on May 7, 2001. Bill Cardille reprised his role as a reporter in the 1990 Night remake and six years later in The Assassination File. Tony Pantanello and Regis Survinski both appeared in Romero’s Martin (1977). Keith Wayne worked as a singer and later chiropractor, before committing suicide on Sept. 9, 1995. Betty Ellen Haughey died in 1971 shortly after Night’s infamy really caught on. And John Russo is well, in a very bitter world of his own...waiting his own day to come.

Copyright © 2003 T5